Do Taglines or Branding Lines Work?
Have you seen the new Nationwide Insurance commercials featuring Rachel Platten, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brad Paisley? The use of modern singers and Peyton Manning singing the tag line and jingle only build the brand. But what makes this branding line so successful? Is it the alliteration? Is that it is short and easily remembered? Is it that it fits the brand? These could add to the power, but the real brand energy is drawn from the courage to stay with a branding line for nearly 50 years.
Most want to change lines because of internal reasons: change in CEO, change in marketing director, internal brand members are tired of the brand. Yet the most enduring lines survive the internal battles to rise as a deep connection with the target audience. You can’t hum a line and have people immediately accept it without giving it the gift of time. Lines such as: “Gimme a break, gimme a break…,” “Good to the last drop,” “The best part of waking up is ________ in your cup” or “Nothing outlast ________. It keeps going and going…”
How do you know you have a winner? When it becomes a catch phrase; When you can find other ways to use it beyond its tagline purposes; When you can easily sing it; When your audience knows it as well as you do; When, internally, people know the true meaning. Taglines or branding lines don’t need to be short, although it helps memorability unless you are the “nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, best-sleep-you-ever-got-with-a-cold medicine.” Ultimately, the line must be true to who you are. With an emphasis on the word “true.” When you find one, “Just do it.” And don’t change. Refresh it, but don’t change.